Bikes blessed in North Grosvenordale

By Denise Coffey - Staff Writer
Thompson - posted Mon., May. 23, 2011
Bill Berube, Scott Meagher, Renee Racine, Rev. Charles LeBlanc and Debra Berube are suited up for the annual blessing of the bikes. Photos by Denise Coffey.
Bill Berube, Scott Meagher, Renee Racine, Rev. Charles LeBlanc and Debra Berube are suited up for the annual blessing of the bikes. Photos by Denise Coffey.

Twenty-five motorcyclists gathered at St. Joseph's Church in North Grosvenordale on May 22 for the seventh annual blessing of the motorcycles. They braved 50 degree temperatures and the threat of rain for breakfast, some prayers and a sprinkling of holy water before heading out for a 70-mile poker run. The riders passed through Putnam, Killingly, Brooklyn, Hampton, Pomfret and Woodstock, before returning.

“We'll invoke God to protect them and keep them safe throughout the year,” said Rev. Charles LeBlanc, pastor of St. Joseph's “We're just asking God's protection on all of us.”

St. Joe's own pre-kindergarten teacher Nancy Kenyon was decked out in leather jacket and boots for the ride. Her students weren't surprised when they found out she rode motorcycles with her husband.

Parishioners Bill and Debra Berube have been riding for years, but this was their first St. Joseph's blessing and ride. “It helps out the school,” Debra said, “and a lot of friends were going.”

Ray Gervais was there with his 2007 Harley Davidson Ultra Classic. It had 46,000 miles on it. He likes to take week-long trips at least once a year on his bike. “I'm happy with 3,600 miles in a week,” he said.

He's been to North Carolina and Tennessee and loves traveling in the south. “It's an instant conversation getting off your bike to get gas,” he said. “I've had great experiences riding down south."

The riders gathered around Rev. LeBlanc as he read prayers. Then, with the help of two children, holy water was sprinkled on bikes, as long as their owners were willing. The riders mounted up and were off by 10 a.m.

The first stop on the poker run was at Zip's Diner in Dayville, where the bikers would draw the second card of their "poker hand." Stops were prearranged along the route for riders to stop and pick the other cards for their hands. At the end of the run, bikers would draw their fifth and final card. The prize for the best poker hand included gift certificates and t-shirts from local vendors. There was also a prize for the worst hand; a Poker for Dummies book and a medal of St. Christopher, patron saint of travelers.


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